DID YOU READ

Five more ’80s films that deserve a commercial homage

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Say what you will about Matthew Broderick’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”-inspired ad for Honda, but it got everyone talking about his 1986 debut as the slacker hero.

Given the response (mostly positive) to the ad across just about every online social network, it’s safe to say that “Matthew’s Day Off” will go down as a marketing “win” — and when that happens, companies usually take notice and scramble to replicate that success.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about the ad, there are a few other ’80s classics that might be worth revisiting in commercials, and not just because of the nostalgia factor. In some cases, the timing might be just right for a character to be paired up with a particular brand.

1. Val Kilmer shows the “Real Genius” of Apple (or Google).

There was no shortage of movies about nerds who make it big during the ’80s, but Kilmer’s take on Chris Knight made him the undisputed alpha nerd. Not only was he brilliant, but he was effortlessly cool, too — two characteristics that were rarely found in the bespectacled, awkward on-camera nerds of the time. With that in mind, how appropriate would it be to see Chris Knight trying to convince you that buying the iPad 3 is a “moral imperative”? Even better (from a marketing standpoint), have Kilmer (as Chris Knight) sell you on the long list of ways Google can better your life, then take a not-too-subtle swipe at Apple (a la Samsung). Commence flame war heated debate in 3… 2… 1…

2. Cary Elwes has an anti-piracy PSA for “The Princess Bride” fans.

Sure, he started off as the lovable Westley, but he was known the world over as the Dread Pirate Roberts. If movie studios and record labels want to counteract some of the hostility directed at their anti-piracy campaigns, why not trade some of those terrible PSAs and laughably threatening ads for a tongue-in-cheek message from a pirate everyone loves? Have Elwes don the black outfit and mask one more time to explain why people who download movies illegally should be sentenced to life in the Fire Swamp, and then just sit back and watch the message multiply like R.O.U.S. (Rodents Of Unusual Size, of course).

3. Judd Nelson brings back John Bender to promote beer… or jeans… or anything, really.

In “The Breakfast Club,” Judd Nelson almost single-handedly ushered in the grunge era with his role as drug-dealing, denim-wearing, head-banging, authority-defying John Bender. Want to give your product an edge that says “I was bad-ass before being bad-ass was cool”? Get John Bender — or rather, get a long-haired Judd Nelson, dress him in a bunch of flannel and denim (complete with fingerless gloves and unlaced work boots), and have him explain that the only people who would buy your competitor’s product are neo-maxi-zoom-dweebies.

4. Bill S. Preston, Esq. reminds you of the importance of choosing the right cellphone service provider.

Want to convince the world that you really do have the best coverage area? Get in touch with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” actor Alex Winter (since his co-star Keanu Reeves might be a tough sell right now) and have him reprise his role as Wyld Stallyns co-frontman Bill S. Preston. Sure, they traveled in a phone booth during their “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey” days, but now they don’t even need to leave their couch to travel through time with Verizon… or AT&T… or whatever company jumps on this idea. STATION!

5. Falkor the Luck Dragon wants you to play the lottery.

If your product encourages people to try their hand at beating the odds, could there be any better spokesperson than Falkor, the furry, flying deus ex machina of “The NeverEnding Story”? Sure, the original film was aimed at children, but those kids who dreamed of being Atreyu are now adults who dream of, well… having lots of money and owning cool stuff. Some people will probably complain about the marketing campaign and say silly stuff like, “this commercial is raping my childhood” and so forth, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Everyone knows that when Falkor told Atreyu “never give up and good luck will find you,” he totally ripped that line from a Lotto ad.

What do you think of these suggestions? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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